Thursday, February 8, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day -1

A long time ago, I was in eighth grade at a tiny school in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My teacher assigned us an art project: use construction paper to recreate a nation's flag. We couldn't pick any country that was just horizontal or vertical stripes, though I think that someone got away with doing Japan.

With these guidelines in mind, I headed over to our classroom's encyclopedias (Kids: those are reference books that tell you a lot of information about stuff, even though it might not be current information!) and opened up to the flag section.

I wanted to do something that wouldn't be too insanely intricate, yet something that would require a bit of work. (This is basically my mantra to this day, actually.) Flipping through the flags revealed that a lot of nations keep it pretty simple when it comes to their flags!

I finally settled on South Korea, because the shapes were large enough that I could easily replicate them without requiring a magnifying glass to make the details. I still remember to this day looking very carefully at the black rectangles and making sure to divide the right ones in the right patterns. I must say - I remember doing a pretty great job!

Note: This is not my 8th Grade Art project
Looking into the flag further, there is much more to it. It's called the Taegeukgi or "supreme ultimate flag." The white background stands for peace, the red/blue circle represents harmony and unity, and the black rectangles are trigrams that stand for balance. (Upper Left: fire, Lower Left: heaven, Upper Right: water, Lower Right: earth)

I'm going to be seeing that flag many times over the next two weeks, and each time a part of me will be reminded of my art project. The country of South Korea has managed to completely avoid all the controversy and readiness questions that have spun around the previous Olympic host countries. Really, the only issues that have emerged are from the country to the north.

I am looking forward to a fun Olympics this year out of PyeongChang, and will enjoy watching South Korea put on a great show!

Classroom Blurb

Something new this year will be the Classroom Blurb, where I share my students' reactions to the Olympic events they watch, whether it's in the classroom or at home. I have a few students who love sports in general and even one or two who are hardcore Olympic fans already, so the experience this year is going to be a lot of fun! (This is a very fun group!)

Today we watched a couple of ends of Team USA curling. I got to introduce the kids to the "Ham Fam" (Matthew and Becca Hamilton) and watch them play against the OAR.

I've never been able to really embrace curling - and I have tried over and over again - but the kids really got into what we watched! We viewed a great video from World Curling TV about the rules of the sport, and they got it. When Team USA got the points, they erupted in cheers!

I also found the opportunity to talk about Russia's Olympic ban and the fact that the OAR (Olympic Athlete from Russia) don't have any flags or national colors on their uniforms. These kids are learning that cheating doesn't pay.

Mini Blurb Time!!!

  • Today's watch list: 
    • curling
    • figure skating
    • moguls
    • luge
  • These watch lists are going to be much shorter than my Rio watch list because 1) there are fewer events, and 2) many events are taking place when I'm sleeping!
  • I think it's awesome that two of the first events on the docket are mixed gender events - the mixed doubles curling and the figure skating team event. 
  • Speaking of figure skating, the team box is the coolest! I love seeing all these athletes, who usually perform solo or duo, supporting the team as a whole. Well, most countries have their fellow athletes supporting. I think the OAR's contingent is all coaches, which just looks like a bummer. (More on the OAR and Russia in a future post; believe me, I got a lot of things to say about the subject.)
  • The fact that the figure skating team event is limited to ten teams makes it much easier to watch - plus five of those teams will be eliminated after the short programs. 
  • I am taking part in an Olympics fantasy league with my friends at the Olympic Fever podcast! I am terrible at fantasy leagues, so I probably did it all wrong, but I'm still going to have fun. I couldn't pick a good, pun-filled name so I just went with "Olympic Blurb!" I'll keep you updated on my misfortune.
  • I'm liking the purple color scheme  with the snowflakes for all the Olympic signage. I'd better like it - I'm going to be staring at it for 18 days straight!
  • The NBC Olympics app is my favorite thing. I can use my Chromecast to put it on my TV and easily switch between events. The biggest issue is that I need to keep signing in with my cable account. You already know I have Xfinity, NBC - I told you it this morning!
  • I need to give pairs skating another chance - for a few Olympics ice dancing replaced pairs as my second-favorite figure skating event. But pairs is just as crazy - they have to do all those jumps at exactly the same speed, height, and length! Plus: Death Spiral.
  • If you were to tell me that Alexa and Chris Knierim would put on a better short program than Nathan Chen, I wouldn't have believed you. But hopefully this team event helps Chen overcome his Olympic nerves and get him in a positive direction for the solo event.

All right - that's all I have for now! Tomorrow I will be blogging the Olympic Opening Ceremony, though I haven't decided if I will live-tweet yet, since most of America won't be watching it at 6am with me! But come back here later in the day to see all my thoughts! (I'll even put up a cry count, if it comes to that!) 

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

Read about the Opening Ceremony HERE!

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